Spotlight: Student, Alumnus, Instructor and Staff
Jim Oakley has been a student and instructor and is an alumnus and staff member. More importantly he has been a mentor, colleague and friend to so may people who have come through the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences.
UA College of Communication and Information Sciences Dean’s Office
BA from UA in 1957
I came to the University of Alabama as a journalism student in 1953. It was predestined that I would be involved in journalism because my father was publisher of a newspaper, and my future was to take over the paper.
I wanted to play college football and under my father’s orders I could play as long as the school taught journalism. At that time there were only two really good journalism schools in the south and that was Georgia and Alabama. I tried out for football at Alabama and Georgia but got no offers. I went along with a couple of other high school teammates and tried out at Ga. Tech and Auburn. I was offered a scholarship at both.
My Dad said no, they don’t teach journalism.
So he paid my way through Alabama. I graduated from Alabama and the next week started working in the family newspaper. I stayed there for 27 years going from advertising/reporting duties to becoming owner and publisher. I sold the paper in 1985 to a Texas chain and retired.
About a week later I got a call from former Dean Ed Mullins and then JN Chair Charles Self to see if I would be interested in teaching a couple of journalism courses. I accepted and taught a course in newspaper management and general reporting. The plan was for me to be here one semester.
Dean Mullins came to me and told me there was a demand for me to teach those two courses again in the spring and I agreed.
That will soon be 25 years ago.
Now I primarily consult with students who need help with locating internships and trying to help them open doors leading to a job. A few years ago I inherited the job of being in charge of new student orientation which includes making students aware of the many opportunities they have as students and coordinating with our advisors to help these students prepare their first semester class schedule.
Almost every day I meet with families who are bringing their sons or daughters around on a school shopping tour. I am very proud to say that selling this school is a piece of cake. With our facilities, our faculty and staff, and our reputation nationwide, all I have to do is tell them what we do and tour them around the building. The success rate for this has been excellent.
One of the most satisfying things about my job is seeing these new students come in and watch them grow and develop through their college years, and see them leave with a degree and a job.
I don’t turn them loose that easily though. Through email and Facebook I still keep in touch with many of them. I have over 1,250 Facebook friends and almost all of these are students, former students or parents of our students.